Band of Not-Bitter Brothers

I haven’t taken time to comment yet on Barack Obama’s silly assertion that gun owners “cling” to their guns out of some sense of bitterness that is connected to economic hardship. Maybe it is because I’ve been having such a good time at the shooting range lately breaking clays, punching paper and making my collection of firearms go “bang.”

Another reason I haven’t bothered to type words to refute the claim is that it is so clearly and obviously false to me and, I suspect, the vast majority of other gun owners.

But in the off chance you wanted some proof that gun owners are not the bitter crowd that Obama makes us out to be—lumped in with xenophobe racists, no less—take a look at this Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Arthur C. Brooks.

Turns out we’re not only not bitter, but we’re happier, more generous, more self-reliant and less prone to get bent out of shape than our non-gun-owning neighbors. I’d like to think we’re taller and more likely to date supermodels, but the study didn’t get into that level of detail.

For another take on Brooks' op-ed see Eugene Volokh's post. It contains some interesting fodder for those concerned about gun rights, the main point being that gun owners should not hide the fact that they own firearms from their friends, neighbors and other people they encounter.

I couldn’t agree more strongly with Volokh’s conclusion and, personally, make a point of not hiding from anyone the fact that I shoot and hunt. Given that I live in the Northeast, you’d think my lifestyle would go over like a fart in church with most of the people I meet, but the reverse is true. With less than a handful of exceptions, the people I’ve gotten into discussions with about hunting and shooting have been open-minded, if not actually curious to try the shooting sports themselves. I’ve also encountered a lot of “closeted” gun owners who don’t dare let on that they themselves shoot or hunt when meeting new folks. Not only do I think that’s a mistake, but it is also a missed opportunity to educate the non-shooters among us.

—John Snow